Kadyrov used Kremlin blessing to eliminate enemies and take office
Friday 17 April 2009
When Akhmat Kadyrov was assassinated in May 2004, his son Ramzan travelled to the Kremlin for a meeting with Vladimir Putin. In bizarre televised images at the end of the meeting, Mr Putin offered Ramzan his condolences and squeezed the hand of the young, ginger-bearded Chechen who became the first person ever to turn up to the Kremlin wearing a sky-blue tracksuit.
It was another three years before Ramzan officially became Chechnya's President, but for all intents and purposes, this was his coronation – he had been given Mr Putin's personal backing, and used it to outmanoeuvre, threaten and possibly even physically eliminate his enemies, whether they were in Chechnya or hiding abroad.
His face, along with that of his father and Mr Putin, stares down at Chechens from giant billboards placed on the rebuilt and repainted streets of central Grozny. He recently opened an enormous mosque in the capital and has advocated the banning of alcohol and gambling, and said women working in government offices should wear head scarves.
In a recent interview he went even further, calling for the introduction of polygamy, saying that Chechen men should ignore Russian laws and instead embrace Islamic traditions on marriage.
"There is no such law, but I say to everyone: those who have the desire and the means should take a second wife," he said.
He keeps a pet tiger at the heavily fortified compound in his home village of Tsenteroi, and has hosted former heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson on a tour of the republic. Hundreds of people work to protect him from the array of enemies who might wish to see him eliminated.
So far, though, they have died off while he has survived.A former bodyguard, Umar Israilov, accused Mr Kadyrov and his supporters of kidnapping, torture, and murder; in January this year, a Chechen hit man killed him in Austria, where he had been granted asylum. Likewise, a former Chechen general and renowned foe of Mr Kadyrov, Sulim Yamadayev, was assassinated outside his apartment in Dubai in March.
The few Russian journalists who have investigated the internal politics of Chechnya in recent years paint a picture of an unpleasant tyrant who oversees a system riddled with torture and abuse.
One of his fiercest critics was Anna Politkovskaya, the Novaya Gazeta journalist who was murdered in 2006.
She had volubly attacked abuses against Chechen civilians by pro-Russian militias.
Many suspect Mr Kadyrov of involvement in her death. His response? "I don't kill women."
Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
Chicago river turns green to mark Saint Patrick's Day
Saint Patrick's Day: As Google Doodle celebrates the patron saint of Ireland, here are 10 things you didn't know about the man himself
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did jetliner fly into area controlled by Taliban? Net widens after claims final satellite signal could have been sent from the ground
Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 4 Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...